The fakes are very good copies, and aside from the cups, it really takes a close inspection to tell them apart
Build quality is considerably better on the originals.
The wood cups are obviously not at the same level. The finish is miles deeper on the real ones, and tapping the cups from the outside, the fake ones feel much lighter and plastic compared to the real ones. I suspect they are plastic. The detail of how the cup sits in the ring is not made to the same tolerance either. Also, the writing is much sharper and raised on the real ones. Color is much darker on the real ones as well.
The headband material is a very different feel. Leather on the real ones, and something else on the fakes, and as shown in the pictures, the real one wrinkles when sitting, the fake sits smooth.
The swivels move better on the real ones.
The plastic has a light gold fleck throughout and seems more substantial on the real ones.
The cord is completely different material. The fake is stiffer / springier. Cord length is shorter on the fakes and splits too close to the cups. I had noticed it seemed a little short, the real one is definitely a much better length for the two leads.
The weight feels substantially different. The real ones feel substantially heavier. (Which makes sense) Given that I weighed the fakes on a postal scale, and they came in at 180g (10g over the claimed weight for the real ones) I suspect that the claimed weight is highly optimistic, and I’ll weigh the real ones tomorrow to get a comparison. EDIT: went to the post office and weighed the real ones. They actually came in at 175g (6.2 oz) so they are actually lighter, so it looks like that is not a way to tell the real vs fake.
Not really close to be honest. The fakes do actually sound reasonably good but the real ones are considerably more detailed. The fakes also sound a little flat in comparison and that they are missing things. I also haven’t noticed the resonance that I was getting in the fakes on strong bass of the right frequencies. HOWEVER - when I first received them, without the real ones to compare to, the fakes sounded good enough for me to question whether they were fake, and there are still things I like about their sound better than my DT770s and my Sennhesier PXC450s with noise cancelling off. There are some giveaways though, for one, there is a resonance coming from both sides under the right bass frequencies on the fakes. It's subtle, but annoying, and only shows up occasionally.
Cups on the real ones are definitely more comfortable. We’ll see if they work for longer term comfort, but I definitely have hopes. The pads are also quite different. The real ones have zigzag stitching that is much more accurate, and the shape is very different. (see pad picture) Also, the pad fit on the phones is quite different. On the fakes, it is very easy to pull the pads on and off. The real ones were tight enough that I gave up after some gentle tugs. Also, the fakes the pads will spin on the cups, moving quite easily, on the real ones, they seem fixed in place and won't rotate.
Interestingly enough, using my D10 cobra as the amp, the difference between them is less pronounced (although still substantial) than through my desktop Parasound PLD 2000. I suspect if I try my optical hookup and go through the Parasound DAC as well, the differences will be much more profound. I had been disappointed in the fakes through the Parasound in that the improvement vs the D10 was not as noticeable as with my DT770s and others. The real ones respond very nicely to the amp upgrade though.
Metal for the arms:
Real one is shiny stainless, fake is matt, probably mild steel. Also feels less sturdy.
General comparison of the two, real is darker wood on the cups
Note the metal differences here, and the gold fleck in the real ones plastic. Also the different stitching / positioning of the stitching on the cups. Real is on top. One particular giveaway is that the sides of the real pads are basically flush, also on the real pads, the stitching appears to be done on the outside whereas on the fakes it looks like the stitching was done on the inside, and then the pad material was turned inside out so on the real ones, the stitching is visible, and the thread is on the outside, and on the fakes, the seam indents quite a bit from the surface
Differences in the cups note the lettering differences, yes the fakes already have the paint flaking off. The real ones are much sharper and raised
Headbands, note the puckering on the real one. I suspect the fake is not leather.